Friday, February 10, 2017

Qi Gong and Depression

When moving to a new home, there are tons of boxes to open, inevitably you stumble across something from your past. This last move, I found an old sketch of a child playing on the beach from late 90s, quite a few years before my first son was born. I tried to remember why I kept that drawing as it is not the best drawing I have done.

During my early 30s I started to feel like I was stuck in a rut at work and I became quite unhappy for a long period. It lasted long enough for me to say to myself, I think I am depressed. I decided I needed to do something and as I was doing some Aikido at the time, I sought an alternative method of self-healing, I found this cassette tape called the Inner Smile Qi Gong set by Mantak Chia. I practiced every day and part of the set included visualization of something that makes you happy, whatever it is.

For the better part of six months of practicing, I could not fixate on anything in particular. Then after some more time, I was able to conjure children’s laughter in my mind, but only faintly. Then after more time, the sound became clearer and then I could actually see a blurry figure laughing and playing on the beach. I began to attempt to sketch it and during that process a boy playing and laughing on an ocean shore appeared in my mind’s eye. My wife and I had been married for about 5 years at that time and I never had a strong desire to have children and we hadn’t discussed it once until 3 years later. My depression soon passed and the Qigong succeeded in helping me focus on the things I wanted to spend my day thinking, doing, and feeling, and it kept me from falling back into a cycle of darkness.

I no longer practice the inner smile set anymore but I do practice the Tai chi 24 form most days of the week. I still do some 8 Brocades Qigong and a few others occasionally. Both Tai chi and Qigong help me on a daily basis with many of life’s challenges both physical and psychological. The odd thing about this story is that since finding this drawing my wife and I have two sons and I can’t help but wonder if the Qigong I did at that time provide me with a glimpse into the future. And did that glimpse abate my depression, or was it that I uncovered some lost part of myself from childhood, or was it something deeply felt but unknown within the caverns of my limbic system? I guess there is no way to answer those questions, but it does make me wonder.